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International Phonetic Association

February 2, 2015

19 IPA

I have officially become a member of the International Phonetic Association (IPA), the oldest organization for phoneticians. To my surprise, to date, I am the only member from Malaysia. This speaks volume about the lack of interest in the pure and scientific aspects of linguistics in Malaysia, given the emphasis on seemingly more critical areas in applied fields such as TESL. I cannot blame the system because that is how it has been in our country where problems need to be clearly identified, solved and commercialized. A mother would frown if her son would one day announce: “Mum, I wanna be a phonetician!”

Anyway, despite being highly marginalized here, the IPA has been active around the globe for 129 years. Established in 1886 in Paris, this organization aims to promote the study of phonetics and its possible applications in such disciplines as speech therapy or computer speech processing. The IPA also promotes journal publications in its very own Journal of the IPA (JIPA). I have started writing for this journal and I suspect it’s going to be a long long long journey before publication. But, hey, that’s how we tough academicians always play the game.

The IPA also supports the International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS), the largest gathering among phonetic geeks across the world that takes place every four years. I attended the last one in Hong Kong in 2011 (it was epic!) and the next one will happen in Glasgow, Scotland in August this year. Thanks to my previous PhD supervisors, I managed to submit the paper and now I look forward to being accepted and flying to Europe soon!

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